Home Technology Instagram to roll out new features to counter cyberbullying

Instagram to roll out new features to counter cyberbullying

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Bullying. Sadly, it’s a pandemic that is not just restricted to the school grounds of our younger and geekier selves, but something which tends to follow people around regardless of age and even privacy. Cyberbullying has become more widespread than traditional bullying and is often known to be equally traumatic for its victims. A trend which tech companies are trying to increasingly address.

Instagram has new features (via The Verge) on its way that it’s hoping will address cyberbullying by finally allowing people to “shadow ban” others and a new artificial intelligence that is designed to flag potentially offensive comments. Both initiatives are looking to be put into testing soon.

The “shadow ban” will essentially provide a way for a user to restrict another user, without that person realising they are essentially banned. So they will still be able to see your post and comment on them, but their comments will only be visible to themselves meaning you and the rest of the people you actually want to interact with can keep talking in peace while said person wonders why their snarky comments are not getting any responses from you.

Along with this feature, Instagram is also hoping to leverage a new AI to flag potentially offensive comments and ask the commenter if they really want to follow through with posting. They’ll be given the opportunity to undo their comment, and Instagram says that during tests, it encouraged “some” people to reflect on and undo what they wrote. A nice touch, though given the emotional state most bullies are in, it’s unlikely to alter course for most people. Still, it’s better than nothing.

Instagram has already tested multiple bully-focused features, including an offensive comment filter that automatically screens bullying comments that “contain attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health” as well as a similar feature for photos and captions. So this shows a real effort by Facebook to tackle this problem on the platform.

A lot of these features you could argue should’ve been part of Instagram for a while now, but it’s nice to see that they are trying to do something about this abusive online culture that really shouldn’t exist in the first place.  

Last Updated: July 9, 2019

10 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief Umbra

    July 9, 2019 at 16:06

    Great feature.

    Sad that a feature like this needs to exist. A pity indeed

    Reply

  2. Guz

    July 9, 2019 at 16:27

    Um hows about you just log off……

    Reply

    • Guz

      July 9, 2019 at 16:35

      Also life isn’t always nice, the world can be a shitty place sometimes, people need to have thicker skin

      Reply

    • Dr Webster

      July 9, 2019 at 18:36

      This!

      Reply

  3. Dr Webster

    July 9, 2019 at 18:36

    Just get off social media you bunch of soys. In my day, bullying meant you actually got beaten up by a bigger kid. Now it’s just a bunch of little man girls being rude on the internet.

    Grow some balls buttercups.

    Reply

    • Chris Summers

      July 10, 2019 at 10:06

      Amen. Truly the most shameful generation.

      Reply

      • Dr Webster Flexington

        July 10, 2019 at 15:25

        It truly is – Hopefully if trends and some studies are to be believed the two generations following this shameful, ball-less, sheltered bunch of soyllenials will swing back to 80s manliness, awesomeness, metal or gangsta rap and badassery.

        I think a Donald Trump victory in 2020 will hopefully lead to a global mass suicide of soyllenials.

        Reply

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